About CT More commonly called CT or CAT scan, this modality allows us to see soft tissue and bones with incredible detail. In fact, we can quickly and non-invasively identify internal structures and see their shape, size, density and texture. For instance, if a tumor is found, the CT scan can determine the exact size and location. This is critical for a surgeon to know so that an appropriate treatment plan can be formulated.
How does it work? The pet is sedated and put under general anesthesia during the procedure, since he or she must remain completely still. The table on which the pet is lying is slowly advanced into the part of the machine that performs the scan. An X-ray tube rotates 360 degrees around the patient to record the X-rays from many angles. This data is transmitted to a computer, which builds up a 3D cross-sectional picture of the part of the body and displays it on a computer monitor.
When do we use CT? It remains a general consensus that CT scan is the application better suited to bone imaging, whereas MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) gives us more information about soft tissue structures; however, it is also well accepted that CT scan can do a good job with certain soft tissue applications, and that MRI can be adjusted to evaluate bone. We are privileged to have both and when the need to image neurological
structures, such as the spinal cord and brain we use the MRI scanner and can choose the best modality for your pet.